Just wanted to share a quick mini review of the Feisol line of Carbon Fiber "Travel" series tripods. Basically, it seems the term travel now means a tripod whose legs can fold up over it's own extended center column, thereby making the total folded length less than it would normally be. Gitzo has been doing this for a while and I recently learned that Feisol has a few options too.
I have two issues with tripods. First is I am am tall and most pods, especially travel pods, do not extend long enough to accommodate my needs. Gitzo has one 2 series that just makes the 5' mark -- but it also weighs as much as my existing 3 series, so I am left asking what the point of that is? Second is since I shoot MF, I need a reasonably rigid pod.
Historically, a tripod choice has centered around the old balancing act of, going for rigidity, light weight or reasonable cost, and you could have any two of those you wanted. Feisol has broken that mold somewhat.
I bought the 3441T. Let's start with the specs: it weighs 2-1/4 pounds, folds to 18.9", extends to 56-1/2" without using the center column, extends to 68-1/2" using the center column, can get as low as 8" with the optional short center column ($25) and costs $319 with conventional legs or $414 with the newer anti-rotating legs. I sprung for the no rotate, because having been there before with Gitzo I knew they were worth it! I also sprung for the optional short column and optional spike feet ($15 for a set of 3).
In use the pod is very light and more than rigid enough for my tech camera, even with the center column extended, though I never do that unless it's an absolute necessity. It sets up quickly and folds easily. The legset seems about comparable to a 2 series Gitzo, but lighter in weight, yet still as rigid or possibly even more so. The main legs are padded plus the tripod comes in a nice padded and zippered storage bag, complete with external pocket that can store the small column and spike feet and wrench -- very nice added touches, especially considering the price! Both columns have a removable hook at the bottom for hanging your bag on to help add rigidity, and have a second 3/8" mounting stud should you want to mount your head inverted on the pod or attach a secondary accessory like a macro flash. To mount the spike feet, you have to first pry the regular rubber feet off as they are not screwed on, just a very tight slip fit over the leg ends. Once out of the the way, the spikes screw into threaded holes in the bottom of the legs and are tightened with the included wrench. This isn't intended to be my main working pod, but will certainly be my main travel pod -- and it is so light and compact it will certainly be with me on all of my car trips as a back-up. There isn't much more to add as it's a just a tripod, but IMHO it represents a good enough bargain I thought it worth sharing!
I bought this pod from Kerry Thalmann at http://reallybigcameras.com/, and here is the direct link to his Feisol order page: http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/Tripods. I have known Kerry for several years, and can tell you he is a great guy and easy to deal with!
Here are some simple P&S grabs for you to look at, but I did not take one with the legs folder over the column -- but trust me, they do :
3441T with a my Arca RM3Di tech camera on a small Gitzo 1780 ballhead
The "Long" Spike Feet mounted -- they are about 1-1/2" long total
Spike feet can be problematic inside a vehicle, so I cap them with small sections of rubber tubing
PS: A note on why I like spike feet. Simply stated, as an outdoor photographer they are a lot more secure and rigid on hard rocky surfaces and thicker matted vegetation than rubber feet. Once you've used them, you'll want them on all your outdoor pods.